Kung PAO – Eat It Like You Mean It!

kung pao chickenIt’s Friday.  That means we get to talk about FOOD!  Woohoo!  Yeehaw!  Belly up!

I like food.  I like food a LOT.

I’ve never struggled much with weight.  I have awesome genetics to thank for that.  But still, the difference between having my muscles and seeing my muscles depends solely on what and how much I eat.  It’s true what they say….  you can’t train away a bad diet.  You just can’t.  There are lots of exercise programs that claim you’ll burn “500! 600!  Up to 950 calories!”  Do you know how hard it is to burn 500 calories?  Really effing hard.  And specialty athletes aside, the vast majority of us do not do enough to burn that many calories.

I’m sorry to harsh your mellow.

So if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to adjust what you’re eating.  You. Just. Do.  I lied to myself for many, many years.  My standard line was, “I eat better than 80% of the people.”  That may have been true, but if I was eating too much, and if I was still eating not-so-healthy food more often than I admitted, I was not going to see the beautiful muscles I was working so hard to build.

“I have a six-pack in there.  It’s way in the back, behind the beer and corn chips.”

You know the general advice for eating well – Eat complex carbs (fruits & vegetables & whole grains), protein (meats, nuts & seeds, eggs, beans), and healthy fats (quality oils, oily fishes, avocados).  The complex carbs give you energy, the protein builds & repairs tissues, and the fats keep your brain happy & functioning.  Reasonable portions.  Feed your body nutrient-dense foods every day.  Every Day.  

It’s not hard, but it does take some planning.  I like to concoct one-dish meals so it’s all there, and I like to make huge portions so if I’m feeling uninspired or too busy, I can subsist on healthy leftovers.

On that note, today’s Foodie Friday recipe is Kung PAO Chicken.  (It’s not Kung Pao.  Like, “Eh.”  It’s Kung PAO – say it like you mean it, bitches!)  The original recipe only calls for chicken, but we’re gonna bulk it up with some veggies and lay that delicious goodness over some quinoa for a little more PAO.

Wanna make it?  Here’s the deal:

In a small bowl, combine 5 diced chicken breasts, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cornstarch, and 2-3 tsp soy sauce.  Mix thoroughly and let it sit while you roast 2 TBS of sesame seeds.  

To do that, place sesame seeds in a dry skillet heated to medium – toss and stir until lightly browned,  no more than 5 minutes.  Set seeds aside.  

Heat a couple TBS of oil (sesame oil if you have it) to med-high in a wok or deep skillet.  Add chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring as needed.  Remove chicken.  Add diced veggies to pan in order of hardness – I did carrots for 1-2 minutes, then onion, then peapods, then collard greens.  Stir-fry those veggies, turning often, until tender-crisp.  Return chicken to the pan.  

In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 TBS fish sauce, 1 TBS sugar, 1 TBS sesame oil, and 1-3 tsp hot pepper sauce to taste.  Don’t skimp on the pepper sauce!  That right there is the *pow* in your PAO!  

Can you HANDLE the PAO?

Stir that sauce into the pan, and allow everything to come to a boil and thicken.  Serve that spicy goodness all by itself or over rice, quinoa, or rice pasta.  No matter how you do it, don’t forget to sprinkle those tasty toasted sesame seeds over the top.  

If you did it right, you should have to wipe your brow about midway through a bowl, and say, “DAY-um – that’s some PAO!”

Now go forth and eat good food, my friends.  And have a few Quickies.  Always with the Quickies!

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